Colleen Adams’ daughter felt unlovable because of her dad’s lies about her mother’s disappearance after he killed her. Today Colleen's family stared him down.
Colleen Adams’ daughter felt unlovable because of her dad’s lies about her mother’s disappearance after he killed her. Today Colleen's family stared him down.

‘I was unlovable’: Murdered woman's daughter reveals pain

The daughter of a woman killed by her husband and buried in the family's backyard believed for years that she was responsible for her mother's disappearance and was "unlovable", a court has heard.

Geoffrey Adams, 72, killed his wife Colleen in November 1973 during an argument in the couple's kitchen.

He covered up the killing by burying her in the backyard of their Maitland home and later laying a concrete slab over where her body lay.

However, he denied intending to kill her and was acquitted of murder by a jury in August this year.

Geoffrey Adams will be sentenced for the manslaughter of his wife, about which he lied for decades and told his children she had walked out on them. Picture: Nine News
Geoffrey Adams will be sentenced for the manslaughter of his wife, about which he lied for decades and told his children she had walked out on them. Picture: Nine News

Adams' daughter Marie Colleen Adams, through a victim impact statement read to the court, said she had been told for the majority of her life that her mother had the "baby blues" and had abandoned her husband and two children.

"I believed that I had been responsible for her leaving and I thought that I must be unlovable," she said.

"I thought I was living with the sins of my mother, but now I realise that they were the sins of my father.

"It took me years to realise that my mother did love me and didn't choose to abandon me."

Mrs Adams' sister Kristina Burford read her victim impact statement to the court, locking eyes with Adams who sat in the dock.

"I feel nothing but hate and contempt for your lies and deception," she said.

During the trial in August the jury heard that Adams had struck his wife to the head with a metal bar and left her dead on the kitchen floor as he grappled with what to do.

He buried her in the backyard and went with his two young children to his parent's house nearby.

For more than 40 years Adams peddled the story that he had woken to his wife standing at the end of the bed, her bags packed and saying she was leaving.

During his opening to the jury prosecutor Jim Pearce QC said Adam maintained his wife said "goodbye you little bastards" to her two daughters, then aged three and 18 months old, and that she claimed to be "bloody glad to be leaving".

Adams finally admitted the crime following a prolonged operation by police to solve the cold-case mystery in 2018.

Geoffrey Adams with police at their former Maitland home. Picture: 9 News
Geoffrey Adams with police at their former Maitland home. Picture: 9 News

Only a day before confessing, Adams seemed to dare police to rip up the backyard of the Maitland property, saying "rip it up, go for it, I'll be here if you need me".

He confessed to the crime and showed police, who were already preparing to dig up the backyard of the Maitland property, exactly where the body was buried.

At trial Bill Boucaut QC, for Adams, developed an argument that Mrs Adams had been affected by undiagnosed post-natal depression and had been difficult to live with.

The jury watched several interviews with Adams over the years in which he claimed his wife had become withdrawn and quick to argue.

In her victim impact statement to the court, Mrs Adams' sister Heather Johncock said one of the most painful parts of the ordeal was Adams' lies about his wife leaving their children.

 

Heather Johncock, sister of Colleen Adams who was killed by her husband in 1973, speaks to the media after leaving the Supreme Court. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Naomi Jellicoe
Heather Johncock, sister of Colleen Adams who was killed by her husband in 1973, speaks to the media after leaving the Supreme Court. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Naomi Jellicoe

On Wednesday Justice David Peek heard arguments about the level of sentencing discount Adams should receive for his early plea to manslaughter.

He pleaded not guilty to murder in the Magistrates Court but admitted killing Mrs Adams, entitling him to as much as a 30 per cent discount.

Mr Pearce argued that Adams' decades of deception and lies were an important factor in reducing the discount.

Mr Boucaut said that the full discount should apply because of Adams' confession, as late as it was, and early plea to the serious charge.

Justice Peek will sentence Adams later this year.

*For 24-hour domestic violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636. 

Originally published as 'I thought I was unlovable': Daughter tells of decades of pain


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